The Big 12 is Expanding

What’s that mean for fans?

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The Big 12 voted on Friday, September 10th, to add four new teams to the conference. These teams include Houston, Brigham Young, Central Florida, and Cincinnati. BYU is the only school out of the four that was previously independent; the other three are leaving the American Athletic Conference (AAC) to join.
In a later statement, the Big 12 said that the eight remaining teams in the conference had approved the four new schools unanimously. The addition came shortly after Texas and Oklahoma, two co-founders and powerhouses of the Big 12, made the decision to leave and join the SouthEast Conference (SEC) by 2025. Because BYU was previously an independent school, they can officially join the conference for the 2023-2024 athletic season while the three other schools will join no later than July 1, 2024, at the latest. This is because the AAC requires teams to give at least a 27-month notice before officially leaving.
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby believes that these additions have more than made up for the losses of Texas and Oklahoma, stating,

“I think that these are very high-quality football programs that are additive to the Big 12 and have the capability, especially with an array of stronger opponents within the conference, we have an opportunity to demonstrate how we can play at the national level.”

Bowlsby has also stated that they have considered expanding the conference for a long time, even considering adding some of these teams back in 2016. The Big 12 ultimately decided not to expand but because of their recent losses, they had to reevaluate their choices.

“With Texas and OU moving to the SEC, it caused a renewed consideration of the options that are available,” Bowlsby said. “The more our group became committed to one another and moving forward with the group of eight, the more they began to believe adding additional members made good sense.”

Many wondered where the Big 12 would go after the losses of both Oklahoma and Texas, but after these recent additions, it is safe to say that the Big 12 will remain an NCAA powerhouse for years to come.